Use Data to Drive Your Education Marketing Decisions

By: Scott Brooks

data driven marketingPersonalized learning has probably come up in your conversations with prospect schools and districts — at least once or twice. Educators understand now more than ever that every student learns differently, and they rely on performance data to drive instructional decision-making for each student.

You should take the same approach when planning your education marketing and sales strategies. 

Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all instruction, and gone are the days of one-size-fits-all-marketing. Gather, analyze and use educator data to inform your future marketing campaigns and support confident decision-making as you nurture prospects through the purchasing cycle. 

What is Data-Driven Marketing? 

Every digital interaction you have with a lead or customer generates data. A superintendent signs up for an ebook on your website: Data. A teacher clicks on a link in an email: Data. A curriculum director fills out a customer survey: Data. 

Data-driven marketing involves analyzing the data you glean from every interaction and using it to create highly personalized campaigns that reach a defined audience of qualified educators with the information they’re looking for when and where they’re looking for it. Thanks to data, you can be in the right place, at the right time, with the right people — and not by chance. 

Data can eliminate the guesswork around marketing and sales outreach, create confidence in your marketing decisions and prove the ROI of your efforts. It also can, when combined with tools like your customer relationship management (CRM), marketing automation and data management platforms (DMP), make your marketing and sales more efficient and effective. 

Use Data-Driven Marketing To:   

Define Your Audience

As a whole, who are the educators who interact with you most? Where are they located? Are they mostly administrators, or are they teachers, too? 

Data can answer all of these questions. Start by capturing this information through lead generation forms on your website: 

Educators will likely find your company through search. An Agile Education Marketing survey found that 65 percent of teachers use search engines like Google as their main source of information about teaching and learning products. Draw educators to your site with valuable, relevant information that’s gated behind a form. You provide content; they provide contact information. In addition to general info (name, email, phone), request details that help shape your understanding of their particular challenges, interests or needs.

Target Your Messaging

Once they fill out a form, file educators into your CRM to continue to collect data based on their interactions with you. Every new piece of information you gather will help build a more detailed audience profile. 

You’ll soon start to notice similarities among the different educators who frequent your site. Group these educators into smaller list segments and use marketing automation to deliver content tailored to their interests and timed carefully to move them through the sales cycle: 

You notice that two core groups of educators visit your site often: ELA instructors and curriculum directors. One audience is school-site based; the other is district-based. You know that these two different audiences should receive different messages based on their role in the purchasing cycle and how they’ll use your product. Data from Agile Education Marketing tells us that teachers might value emails more when they highlight key benefits and ways you can help them do their jobs; administrators might be more interested in reading customer success stories proving how your product has helped similar districts solve similar challenges.  

Plan Your Campaign Strategy Around the Buyer Journey

Of course, email isn’t the only way to deliver information to your audience. By analyzing data from email, your website, digital advertising, social media, and other channels, you can begin to plot points along each buyer’s journey. You’ll likely find that the journey from discovery to decision-making differs between your different audiences. 

Your data tells you that first point of contact is often your website. (Both teachers and administrators report that websites are their most valued sources of information for education products.) But from there, their journeys shift. You might notice that while both engage with you on social, teachers prefer Facebook while administrators favor LinkedIn. And even though they both visit your blog, teachers tend to read quick how-to posts while administrators are attracted to in-depth content like whitepapers. Based on this data, you might create two campaign strategies. 

Teacher CampaignTeacher Campaign: Social ads on Facebook and Twitter promoting a tactical webinar > Email follow-up with link to a related blog post > Ad retargeting campaign with lesson plan as CTA

Administrator CampaignAdministrator Campaign: LinkedIn Sponsored content and ads with CTA to sign up for email list > Email promoting a thought leadership webinar > Ad retargeting campaign with whitepaper download as CTA 

Test and Improve Your Campaign Performance 

Finally, you can use data to analyze marketing performance and improve it. Review the data for each of your campaigns or marketing channels and use it to inform changes. Finding data trends and testing small changes based on those trends can help you improve email opens, ad click throughs, landing page conversions, and more.

You thought that sending emails to administrators on Sundays made sense. They might be taking advantage of downtime to prepare for the week ahead. Unfortunately, those messages are performing dismally. But other emails you’ve sent in the morning, between 7:00 am and 11:00 am, have seen great response. So, you change your email schedule to send more messages between those hours. Now your open and click through rates are going up. 

Educators use data to provide personalized support for every student in their classrooms. You can use data to provide similar 1:1 experiences with the educators you’re marketing to. When your decisions are backed by evidence, you can expect to generate better leads, stronger engagement, increased response rates, and higher revenue. 

About the Author

Scott BrooksScott Brooks is the Vice President of Corporate Development at Agile Education Marketing. To that role, Scott brings more than 25 years of experience within corporate development and leadership positions at software and services organizations. He has extensive background in developing and training marketing and data software for a variety of industries, including education. At Agile, Scott has spearheaded new go-to-market strategies and the development of various technology solutions, such as the new Campus education marketing software. Reach Scott at sbrooks@agile-ed.com.